Recently the CALGM board has been prodded by the bishop of the diocese in which we are chartered, to put on the website some specific wording about sexuality. We run the risk of not being considered a authentically Catholic if we choose different wording. Our website says clearly that we are called to chastity. The bishop wants us to say celibacy. The debate goes on with the board and the bishop, but I put my two cents in the mail today. I wonder if every outreach in the diocese speaks clearly about the 'you can't do it's.' Young singles I suppose are told not to 'do it'... marriage prep, maybe so. But do we mention it in all the websites? If so, someone is way to interested in who is 'doing it'....
Dear Bishop Cordileone:
I want to share with you the wonderful time we had at our CALGM conference last week. I always leave these conferences feeling refreshed in spirit and blessed with wonderful friends. This last week was no different. We discussed at length your request for our website. I understand that my idea of pastoral outreach differs from yours and regret that. With so much church energy being spent on DOMA, so many public statements that our kids are ‘the other’ we (as church) have given yet more ammunition to those who would wish harm to our LGBTQ sons and daughters, brothers and sisters. I find that very sad.
We heard a presentation at this conference from Dr. Catlin Ryan on the health (and too frequently suicide) of youth who face rejection from family, church and school. Young people become an ‘at risk’ group as they come out; share their personal truth, with family and friends. I had the chance to present a session on ‘discarded’ lgbt youth later that day. My husband and I have shared our home with a dozen of these kids in the last two years. These are youth whose parents threw them out when learning of their orientation, or made the home a place the child could not live in. One of my kids’ moms threw him out 4 times during his senior year in high school. Counselors intervened and he found himself in the foster system. Aging out, his grandmother took him in. She thought on day 3 he was kidding about being gay. Day 4 he awoke to her pouring oil on him to anoint the gay away. Day 5 he was in my home. Our primary job with these kids, after giving them food and shelter, is to remind them that they are God’s children. And they are loved. This is not an easy message to convey to kids who have been shunned because they tell the truth about how they are made. They aren’t hearing a lot about being made in God’s image only that should they find someone who can love and cherish them- it will be the end of the world as God made it. When we take in these kids, I think it would be a mistake to begin with telling them they have to be celibate for eternity. I would never reach them with that message. I do begin by talking about promiscuity: about the fact that they can listen to the Spirit, and realize that this kind of behavior is not good for them, body or soul. Celibacy as a calling assumes that there is a great commitment in faith. Like the kids in my house, many find our website while looking for a way to survive as a Catholic, and as a way to grow, and without a pastoral approach we would lose them on the first read.
I realize your discussion with our board will go on… and I prayerfully ask you to take time to look at the material Dr. Ryan has produced and understand that as church we are ‘part of the problem’ and CALGM as church attempts to be part of the solution.
The Family Acceptance Project can be found at http://familyproject.sfsu.edu/ .
Dr Ryan shared with us that she is doing an educational session with the Mormon bishops this month. She has information that OUR BISHOPS should hear as well.
In His Peace,